Dick Frizzell

Auckland, New Zealand, b. 1943

Dick Frizzell studied painting at the Canterbury School of Fine Arts from 1960-63, under Rudi Gopas. Frizzell moved to Auckland in 1964, and, like so many other artists from his generation, trained as a schoolteacher, attending Auckland Teacher’s College in 1966. However, he did not permanently pursue teaching as a career, taking a job at Sam Harvey Animations from 1967-1970, where he worked on several iconic advertisements which aired during the infancy of television in New Zealand. After this, Frizzell worked as the Creative Director at advertising agency MacHarman Associates, where he designed album covers, posters and logos. He left the commercial art world in 1974, becoming a freelance illustrator and animator. In 1975, Frizzell’s paintings were included in the New year, new work group show at the Barry Lett Gallery, launching him as a gallery artist. Frizzell’s work from this period is characterised by references to comics, popular culture, advertising and consumer goods. Frizzell travelled to America in 1978 on a QEII Arts Council Grant, and continued to show pop work until 1987, when he transitioned into landscape painting, often executed in a faux-naive manner. Frizzell’s technical skills and affinity for pastiche allowed him to execute drastic changes in style over the course of his career: in 1992 his Tiki exhibition at Gow Langsford Gallery depicted Maori tiki motifs in the style of various modernist artists, sparking controversy due to issues surrounding cultural appropriation. Frizzell continued to paint tongue-in-cheek abstracts—dubbed “Uncle Albert abstractions” by the artist—throughout the 90s, although his practice never settled on one style for long. Due to his ongoing contributions to both fine art and popular culture in New Zealand, Frizzell is one of this country’s most widely known and best-loved artists.

Auction Results



gouache, pastel and graphite on paper

280mm x 245mm

Estimate $2,000 - $3,000

Still Life with Felix the Cat Cut Out and Statuette


oil on board

645mmx 585mm

Achieved $10,552.50



lithograph on paper, edition 13/100

570mm x 765mm

Achieved $1,876.00